Baking for Easter

Easter is quite possibly my favourite time of the year as it seems to signal the start of the summer and outside dining. I love the opportunity to get together with all the family and chill out in the garden, plus it brings with it the possibility of a barbecue as well as a fabulous roast dinner on Easter Sunday. Never mind the easter egg fun.

This Easter my sisters and I have decided to cook out amazing pulled pork at some point over the four days for the parental units to enjoy. Plus I’m planning on trying out a coffee and walnut cake as I’ve never made one. But before that point we get to make all the yummy sweet stuff that contains easter treats. You know what I mean, all the creme eggs and mini eggs that appear in the shops as soon as Christmas is over. Well it would be rude not to include those in some sort of baking wouldn’t it. So that’s what this post is all about – Baking with Easter sweets!

Hopefully you are all well aware of the awesome mini egg blondies that we made last year. If not then what are you waiting for? Check them out right here, right now. So these have been made again because they are just totally awesome and Fi has an actual real life obsession with mini eggs.

So yes, we made mini egg blondies, but we also decided to try making creme egg brownies. Now different versions of these have been all over the internet and on twitter, so it really was high time we had a go ourselves. They honestly couldn’t be easier – mostly because I used a packet brownie mix – sometimes you just have to cheat!

Here’s what you do –
1. Create your normal brownie batter – I used the Ghiardelli brownie mix because it’s totally awesome.
2. Throw in 10 mini creme eggs to the mix.
3. Pour the whole lot into the brownie tin.
4. Chop another 8 mini creme eggs in half and lay these gooey side up on the top of your batter.
5. Bake as per normal brownie instructions.

Creme Egg Brownies Creme Egg Brownies

Creme Egg Brownies

See, easy peasy and don’t they look amazing? I promise you guys, these actually taste like heaven. Seriously the gooey levels are epic in this. These beauties ended up at work and they all disappeared in record time. I think that’s a good sign, right?!

Now you give them ago and let me know what you think.

Lau xxx

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Chocolate Orange Hot Cross Buns

Whilst watching TV last week I noticed the existence of chocolate and orange hot cross buns thanks to the lyrical tones of Matthew Macfayden on the latest M&S advert. Um what the hell, how was I not aware of this sooner?! That is just a revolutionary idea – chocolate orange hot cross buns – two of my favourite things in one bite. Amazing! So needless to say I knew I had to make them over the Easter weekend and I wasn’t disapointed. They were delicious and went down a storm with the family – it’s just a shame that they take quite so long to make!! Anyway if you fancy making them, the recipes below, which I borrowed from here. I left out the 50g of mixed peel as the family Evans hates peel, but if you want to include it just add it with the orange zest.

For the dough:
100ml milk
50g caster sugar
75g butter
450g plain white flour
25g cocoa powder
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
7g fast action dried yeast
75g dark chocolate drops
1 egg, beaten

For the crosses and glaze:
50g strong plain white flour
1tbsp sunflower oil
2-3tbsp water
2tbsp orange juice
2tbsp caster sugar

Heat the milk in a saucepan over a low heat
Remove from the heat before the milk boils and stir in the sugar and butter, until dissolved
Add 100ml cold water to the milk mixture and leave to cool down until you can comfortably hold your finger in it for a few seconds
In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and salt and stir in the orange zest and yeast
Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk mixture and beaten egg, mixing together until you have a sticky dough
Next add the chocolate drops, and knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic
Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour/until doubled in volume
Knock back the dough and knead for a couple of minutes, before dividing into 12 pieces and shape into buns
Place on greased baking sheets, cover with the tea towel and leave to rise again for 30 minutes until doubled in size
Meanwhile make the glaze by mixing the flour, oil and water together until smooth
Cut across each bun to make crosses and then fill the crosses with the glaze (the recipe says to pipe it but I found it easier to spread it with a knife)
Cook on 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 for 15-18 minutes, until they are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
Just before removing the buns from the oven heat the orange juice and sugar in a small pan and heat until the sugar dissolves
As soon as the buns are out of the oven, brush with the glaze and leave to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving

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Easter nest time

So neither Fi or I have given anything up for Lent. Personally from past experience I know that if I do give anything up I then tend to go a little bit manic once Easter happens and I finally allow myself to eat chocolate or sweets again! Seriously in previous years I’ve been known to be on a complete sugar high for at least seven days after Easter Monday. Even without the excitement of Lent ending we are both still eagerly anticipating Easter weekend. Eggs have been bought, hot cross buns have been sampled, we’ve planned the baking of the Easter bread and butter pudding and started to plot the Easter Egg hunt. The only think missing is the making of these Easter nests. These are classic treats for this time of year and we’ve been making them for as long as I can remember. So it’s high time we shared this recipe with you all on CB&E.

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  • Take one bar of chocolate – for us it has to be the purple wrapper from Mr Cadbury – and melt in a bowl over boiling water on the hob or in a microwave.
  • Once all the chocolate is melted pour your choice of cereal into the chocolate. Here we like to use either Rice Crispies or Shredded Wheat as both can be made into perfectly shaped nests. You want to make sure all of the cereal is well covered.
  • Next spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, and top with three mini eggs.
  • Place in the fridge to harden.

Voila, all done. Now sit down, relax and enjoy these tasty morsels of Easter fun.

Lau xxx

Mini Egg Blondies

I know a lot of people freak out when they visit the supermarket on January 1st and are faced with a wall of Easter treats. I am not one of those people. In fact I’m the complete opposite, I embrace the wondrous moment and start stockpiling. You see I’m addicted to Cadbury Mini Eggs, there’s something about the creamy chocolate inside, hard crisp shell and glorious pastel shades of these little bites that has me squealing in excitement and reaching for a bag (or four!). So yes as soon as they appear in the shops I’m all over them – I mean they are only available for three months of the year, so you HAVE to make the most of them.

Now considering I’m obsessed with them it’s odd that I’ve never baked with them, well apart from popping them on Easter Nests! However, I recently found this recipe online of mini egg blondies and my interest was piqued. I’ve never tried blondies – I usually go straight for a brownie recipe if I’m making a tray bake – but thanks to the addition of my favourite Easter goodies I was intrigued enough to give them a whirl. And my goodness am I pleased that I made them – they are so good that I’ve made them three times in the last month alone, oops! The recipe makes about 30 small squares and each square is chock-a-block with mini eggs – my ideal scenario!!

What you’ll need:
2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups mini eggs

And how to make these wondrous bites:

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together
  • Melt the butter and then cream with the sugars in a separate bowl (we used an electic mixer)
  • Add the vanilla extract and eggs and mix until creamy and fully combined
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture until fully mixed
  • Fold in the Mini Eggs
  • Spread batter into a greased cake tin, roughly 8 x 8 x 2 inches
  • Bake for 25 minutes at 175 degrees until a skewer is inserted in the center and comes out clean
  • Leave to cool before slicing and eating…

I’m sure you’ll agree that they are the best things you’ve ever tasted! It’s just a shame you can’t make them year round, although I imagine they’d be just as good with a different chocolate as a substitute – perhaps I’ll give m&m’s a whirl next!

– Fi xxx

Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding

When it comes to puddings I never choose the fruit salad. It’s all about comforting food like sticky toffee pudding or apple crumble with me! But considering this love of such desserts, weirdly I’ve never made any of these puddings myself. They’ve always been made from others or they’ve been shop bought. I’d been meaning to make a pudding like this for a while, so when I saw this recipe for a variation on bread and butter pudding I knew I’d have to try it and considering it was around Easter, it seemed like the perfect time to give it a whirl! And I’m glad I did because it’s delicious! I defy anyone not to love it as much as, if not more than, a classic bread and butter pudding!

2 oz butter
6 hot cross buns (halved)
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp sultanas
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
350 ml milk
50 ml double cream
2 large eggs
1 oz sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the oven 355°F/180°C/Gas 4.
Grease a serving dish with butter (1 litre in size).
Spread the hot cross buns with the remaining butter and cut in half diagonally.
Then place butter side up in the dish so that the slices overlap one another.
After doing one layer of hot cross buns sprinkle them with nutmeg, cinnamon, raisins and sultanas.
Repeat until the dish is filled and then sprinkle the remaining raisins and sultanas on top.
Next heat the milk and cream in a saucepan making sure it doens’t boil.
Beat the eggs with 3/4 of the sugar and the vanilla extract until pale in colour and light and airy.
Add the milk to the eggs and beat until combined.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread until all the liquid is added and then press the surface so that the bread goes into the liquid.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top and leave to rest for half an hour.
Bake the pudding for 40-45 minutes on 180 °C until golden brown, well risen and the egg is set.
Serve hot with ice cream or custard. Yummy!

**For a more orangey variation spread the hot cross buns with marmalade as well as butter.**

– Fi